MOST 19-year-olds like to be given flowers, but Zoe Rowlinson has won a prize for finding a way to wear them.
The young florist has been awarded bronze at this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show. She created a ballgown adorned with flowers as part of the RHS Chelsea Young Florist of the Year competition, which is open to people between 16 and 25 years old.
Two-thirds of the dress had to be made from fresh flowers and plant materials.
Miss Rowlinson said: “We had to make a fantasy floral dress. I had a nude colour and used things like roses to create colours like lilac and pink.
“It was very elegant-looking. I had a swirl of flowers down the front and the back.
“I spent 60 hours on the dress at home. I made it from scratch using different materials then added the flowers on top.”
A judging panel, including members of the RHS and the UK Floristry Judges Guild, looked for originality of design, creativity, and colour composition.
One of the highlights of the show for Miss Rowlinson was the moment she met Princess Beatrice.
She said: “The Royals do a tour, and I was asked to invite her up on stage and view the dresses.
“She was really nice. She couldn’t believe what we’d come up with, and that we’d all done such different things.
“She was impressed we used fresh flowers as well, lots of people thought they were fakes.”
Miss Rowlinson, who works at The Garden in the Covered Market, said: “I got bronze. I’m pretty happy with that, considering it was my first show. But I probably will enter again – I want gold.”
Her dress went on display at the show on Monday, May 19, for three days.
Miss Rowlinson, who lives in Bicester, said: “At the show we had three hours of staging time on the Sunday night to make it as perfect as possible before it went on show.”
Miss Rowlinson has been a florist for four years, after taking it up at Warwickshire College in Leamington Spa.
She said: “It’s definitely good that this competition exists. There’s not really any recognition of the skills of young florists. A lot of people don’t know how much training we do. This is a chance to showcase it.”
Anita Foy, acting head of shows development at the RHS, said: “The RHS has a vested interest in supporting up and coming florists and designers, and it is extremely encouraging to see so many talented young florists emerge from this year’s competition.”
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